Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Data Center and Cloud

Decommissioning Ghost Servers

Uptime Institute recently celebrated the winners of their third annual Server Roundup contest. The contest was launched to spotlight the amount of resources that can be recovered and the amount of waste reduced by decommissioning outdated and underutilized servers. While the results are impressive, the process for identifying these servers was difficult and labor intensive.

2013 Winners:

  • Barclay’s decommissioned 9,124 servers, resulting in savings of 2.5 MWh of energy ($4.5M in power costs), roughly 5,000 Tons of carbon emissions, and $1.3M in legacy hardware maintenance costs, and reclamation of 588 server racks.
  • Sun Life Financial decommissioned 441 servers, resulting in savings of 115 kWh of energy ($100,000 in power costs), roughly 330 Tons of carbon emissions, and reclamation of valuable space in the data center.

All of the 2013 winners finalists shared that they decommissioned between 10% and 40% of their initial servers, and expressed the same sentiments: The cheapest data center is the one you never build. Decommissioning obsolete servers is “free Money”. Make the best use of your space by getting rid of stuff that isn’t being used.

When the 2013 winners were asked what software they used to identify the decommissioned servers, responses varied from tracking via excel spreadsheets and SMDB databases, to polling servers’ back end data with DCIM, to hiring college students to conduct a 3 to 4 month manual Book to Floor audit, then another several months to manually map the applications to the servers using them.

The pain of these outdated and expensive manual processes is what Cisco EnergyWise Suite alleviates for our customers. To anyone who has experienced Cisco EnergyWise Manager, it’s difficult to fathom going back to a system that takes months to implement and execute, and with such a high cost in man hours associated with it.

I applaud all of the hard work and great results these companies have achieved, but imagine how much more efficient they could be if they were leveraging Cisco EnergyWise Suite’s ability to deploy in a matter of hours and:

  • Automatically discover every device that it attached to the network in real time
  • Gain visibility into the energy consumption and utilization of 100% of the devices in the data center
  • Identify energy-inefficient devices
  • Monitor, measure, and manage the energy used by their network-connected devices, regardless of device type or manufacturer
  • Optimize virtualized and cloud computing environments
  • Create policies that automatically and remotely manage power for network-connected devices to cut energy costs

Tags: , , , ,

Can YOU Benefit from the Internet of Things?

June 17, 2014 at 5:30 am PST

Did you know . . .

  • there are currently about 2 connected devices for every human being on the planet?
  • more than 99 percent of things in the physical world are still not connected to the Internet?
  • analysts are predicting the world will reach 50 billion connected devices by 2020?

All over the world, sensors, smart objects, and other devices are connecting through the reach and power of the Internet.   Manufacturing floors, energy grids, healthcare facilities, and transportation systems– are also being connected through the power of the Internet.

And they’re dynamically generating, analyzing, and communicating intelligence to increase operational efficiency, visibility and control, power new business models, and improve quality of life.

Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

Summary – #SmartConnectedCity Series: Tackling City Challenges and Creating Opportunity with IoE and Smart+Connected Communities

What if…

…You have access to unlimited computing power at a reasonable price…

…Everything is connected to everything else…

Then…

Would you run cities the same way?

Would you live your life the same way?

I think you’ll agree that the answer is no.

The Internet has already radically changed the way most of us live our lives. If we take a look at the challenges facing cities today--overcrowding, traffic, areas of poverty, crime, limited access to healthcare, education, citizen services—we recognize the opportunity for the Internet—as it evolves—to radically change the way we address these challenges as well.

The growth and convergence of things and data as well as people and processes on the Internet–which we call The Internet of Everything (IoE)--is allowing us to look at the challenges our cities are facing in new ways and apply to the power of IoE to change, well, everything.

The Internet of Everything can empower cities to gather relevant data, analyze it, process it, share it and deliver it to the right people, places, and things to make stuff happen.

Whether it’s to change the stop lights to green as an ambulance is making its way to a hospital or automatically alert the public when the water supply has been compromised, a smart, connected city has more tools in its arsenal to address its most pressing challenges – and leverage new economic opportunities.

Read the full article: #SmartConnectedCity Series: Tackling City Challenges and Creating Opportunity with IoE and Smart+Connected Communities

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

SNMP: Spike in Brute-force Attempts Recently Observed

Simple Network Monitoring Protocol (SNMP) has been widely deployed as an important network management tool for decades, is a key component of scalable network device management, and is configurable in nearly all network infrastructure devices sold today. As with any management protocol, if not configured securely, it can be leveraged as an opening for attackers to gain access to the network and begin reconnaissance of network infrastructure. In the worst case, if read-write community strings are weak or not properly protected, attackers could directly manipulate device configurations.

Cisco has recently seen a spike in brute-force attempts to access networking devices configured for SNMP using the standard ports (UDP ports 161 and 162). Attacks we’ve observed have been going after well known SNMP community strings and are focused on network edge devices. We have been working with our Technical Assistance Center (TAC) to assist customers in mitigating any problems caused by the brute-force attempts.

While there’s nothing new about brute-force attacks against network devices, in light of these recent findings, customers may want to revisit their SNMP configurations and ensure they follow security best practices, including using strong passwords and community strings and using ACLs to restrict access to trusted network management endpoints.

Cisco has published a number of best practices documents for securing the management plane, including SNMP configuration:

Tags: , , , , ,

Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Tail-f Systems

Every day our world becomes increasingly connected. And as the Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to develop, service providers who provide us with video, voice, and data services are faced with managing explosive growth of demand on their network, including the number of applications and platforms needed to improve the way we live, learn, work and play.

All of this makes networks more complex and expensive to manage.  At the same time, increased competition is driving service providers to introduce new services more rapidly. While Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and network programmability both help improve scale and functionality of networks for service providers, they do not solve the bottleneck caused by operational complexity.

That is why today, I am pleased to announce our intent to acquire Tail-f Systems, a leading provider of multi-vendor network orchestration solutions for traditional and virtual networks. Tail-f will help achieve our goal of aiding customers in their quest to simplify and automate network management, enabling service innovation and deployment acceleration. The acquisition of Tail-f accelerates Cisco’s cloud virtualization strategy of delivering software that increases value to our customers’ applications and services, while supporting Cisco’s long-standing commitment to open standards, architectures, and multi-vendor environments.

Tail-f’s innovative and talented team is also the thought leader around the development and implementation of the NETCONF protocol and YANG data modeling language, which is the leading industry approach to simplifying and automating networks. Tail-f also has an amazing team of talented engineers. Tail-f’s talent and technology, when added to our existing offerings, will enhance how Cisco addresses network orchestration and will help simplify and automate how physical and virtual networks are both provisioned and managed.

We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to continue driving leadership in cloud virtualization and orchestration with the addition of Tail-f. Stay tuned for more details in the weeks and months to come.  And welcome Tail-f!

 

Tags: , , , , , ,